After a long week or even just a rough day, it’s great to take a day to relax and unwind. That is what a mental health day is all about. With everything that has happened in the last year and a half, mental health has been on the decline, and we could all use a mental health day! Below are some must-dos and a few things you should avoid when taking a mental health day!
What exactly is a mental health day?
Well, it’s taking a day to unwind, relax the mind, and check in with yourself. Check to see where you are mentally, emotionally, and to give yourself a much-needed day for you, so that you can be the amazing person you are. This is a great self-care practice to have and can help you reset a crazy week.
What you should avoid!
Avoid The News
Depending on your mental health, watching the morbid news is not a great way to relax. When we are emotionally overwhelmed, watching the news can make us more stressed, emotionally drained and set a negative precedence for the day. It’s always best to be careful about what you allow into your personal space, especially when taking a break for some self-care.
Avoid Sad Music
This may seem weird; I mean, who doesn’t love a good sad love song? Well, not today! Studies show the type of music we listen to can affect our mood, so keeping to uplifting beats and lyrics can help put us in a better mood, which is the goal.
So then, what music should you listen to? Anything that would make you want to sing and dance and put you in a lighter mood. For some, that may be Taylor Swift, others Justin Bieber, or even your favorite gospel singer. Whatever floats your boat and makes you feel good.
So, Then What should You Do?
Okay, we talked about a few things you should avoid on a mental health day; let’s talk about what you should consider doing to get the most out of it.
Journaling is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. It helps you let out what you are feeling and can help you cope with some pretty intense emotions. You can use it as a way to check in with yourself and hone in on your thoughts and help you gain perspective.
So grab a notebook or piece of paper and let out whatever you’re feeling onto the page, judgment-free. Take as long as you need; there are no right answers. It’s great to start here; that way, you can enjoy the rest of the day having gotten out all of your emotions.
Eat The Right Foods
To be a little controversial, this isn’t the day to focus on healthy eating unless it will make you feel good. Since a mental health day is about comforting yourself, ask yourself what food you would love to eat right now that you would find comforting. That could be chocolate chip pancakes, eggs and bacon on a cinnamon raisin bagel, a nice smoothie bowl, or a heaping bowl of warm oatmeal.
The goal here isn’t perfection but to think about what would make you feel good and comforted right now. Allow yourself to show compassion and love for yourself with whatever your comfort foods are.
A note about alcohol: Studies show drinking alcohol can make your mental health worse. Even though it might feel great in the moment, it’s usually not a great choice.
Take a Hot Bath/Shower
Turn your bathroom into a personal spa! Allow yourself to sink into a bathtub filled with hot water, bubbles, essential oils, and some Epsom salt! Put on some nice, calming music and allow the soaking to begin.
To do this in the shower, you can buy a “bath bomb” they make to go in your shower that will release essential oils and give off a pleasant aroma. Try a nice salt scrub; treat yourself in whatever way you find relaxing!
Get Out In Nature
Being near water and trees is a great way to help boost your mood. There are negative ions that get released into the air from nature, especially in large moving water, like the beach. Not to get too scientific, but these ions help boost serotonin levels, which will boost your mood.
These ions counteract positive ions in the air that is given off by electronics and others. Positive ions can decrease your mood and interfere with your ability to sleep. So if it’s a nice breezy day, open the window to allow the ions to escape and let in some negative ones. Which is the only time we will tell you to let some negativity into your life!
Do What You Want!
The day is yours. The best advice is always going to be to sit down and think about what you want to do at that moment. No room for shoulds; today is about you and your needs. It’s okay to be selfish and take care of yourself!
The answer will vary for each person. It could be relaxing on the couch with a really good book or watching your favorite Kevin hart movie. Dinner with friends? Curling up with your significant other. The point is to make sure you make the day as comfortable, relaxing, and stress-free as possible.
These are just a few of many great tips on how to enjoy a mental health day! Self-care, although often overlooked, is a critical practice to get into. Even if you can’t do a whole day, a partial mental health day is great and will help you unwind after a busy week.
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Natalie is a freelance content and creative writer whose passionate about self-awareness and others coming into their own sense of self, whatever that may be.